The Dark Tension Rises
Posted by Angela
Lately, I’ve had a lot on my plate, so last night, I went to see Batman. I had high hopes for The Dark Knight Rises because, come on, the last one was awesome. (However, I’ve been recently told that was due in large part to the incredible Joker, at which I can’t deny.) While I did smile meaningfully at a few moments, and I loved the end wicked hard… The movie left a lot to be desired – and it left a bad taste in my mouth.
For those who haven’t seen it yet, SPOILERS BE AHEAD, MATEYS. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
Let me start by saying I knew nothing about the movie ahead of time. I was excited to see it, but I wasn’t counting days or anything. I only just realized a week ago it was coming out. (I may, in fact, live in a hole.) And as far as movies go, I’m usually watching comedies or fantasies. Before the Fiance, I wasn’t a big super hero person. So I don’t know what I was expecting… I suppose I wasn’t expecting anything other than Batman fights a bad guy.
After getting home, I saw a clip on Hulu where Gary Oldman is quoted as saying movies like this usually tend to parallel real life, and moviegoers look for that. (Paraphrase mine.) I wasn’t looking for that, and when I saw it, I was left uncomfortable amd wanting, like after a bad one night stand.
To me, the essence of the movie was lost behind the political message. Very early on, I began to see parallels between the movie and the recent state of our country, specifically the Occupy movement. I didn’t like what I was seeing. I wouldn’t consider myself an Occupier – I never went to a protest, though I wanted to and I did support the movement. Honestly, I was too cowardly to go to a protest alone. But I did watch a lot of footage, both mainstream news and self-recorded like from Youtube and Ustream. A lot of what I watched was live streaming, and it made me sad, angry, and sick. It was a real life feeling of desperation I’ve only ever gotten from dystopic movies and books before. I got the same feeling last night watching things like protesters flooding the streets and shooters breaking into the stock market.
The bottom line, the thing that was making me so uncomfortable, was the feeling that the makers of the new Batman were making the Occupy Movement look bad. (DISCLAIMER: I realize the movie was written before the height of the movement. I don’t feel they intended for the negative light to be shed. But I think thats what happened.) The movie shows the lower class rising up against the elite and priveledged of Gotham. They sneak into the Gotham Stock Exchange, shoot up the place, and sabotage a lot of peoples’ money while the poor stock brokers, painted to look like innocent victims, stand by, helpless. The police even refuse to storm in and help so they don’t risk their own men. The rich are the obvious victims, and everyone against them are the ones to blame. Great message, Batman.
Another point – when the cops have a choice to follow the robbers or Batman, they don’t go after the real bad guys. They go after the story, what will get them the attention. They put the lives of people (and their money) aside to chase the limelight. Its like saying protesters and Occupiers are just trying to make a scene. Its degrading to the spirit of the movement.
Like I said, I don’t believe the original intent was to make the newest Batman into a media portrayal of protesters. I do, however, think the story came off that way. Time and time again, we’re made to feel like the people following Bane, the ones who have spent their lives with nothing, being shit on, being forced literally underground to survive, are the bad guys. They are savages, killing innocent people (ie the rich and powerful of Gotham) because they aren’t happy with the status quo. There are scenes where the rebels use terrorism and fear in the guise of freedom from oppression to get the city to fall to their whim. Quote, Bane: “Tomorrow you claim what is rightfully yours!” (The football game scene, which made me almost tear up only because I knew what was coming.) There are scenes when the rebels flood the streets, literally crashing into a wall of police, looking like crazy, gun-toting savages – in other words, not human. I was reminded of Joss Whedon’s reavers, actually. (And come on, in this country, in a politically charged movie like this, where we all love the police commissioner, tell me we aren’t made to side with the establishment.) The rebels are terrorists shown to be hiding behind a “for the good of the people”platform, but not very well. Yes, Bane is the bad guy, and yes, we’re made to side with Batman – but they created this incredibly complex and complicated social world and then colored the sides Black and White. Is it ever really that black and white?
Whew. Now that the politics are out of the way, there are a couple things I did like about the movie, but they were mostly little nuances. Things like the relationship between Detective Blake and Commissioner Gordon – definitely my favorite parts, hands down. They’re both really good actors (I I was also pleasantly surprised with Anne Hathaway’s Catwoman. I obviously love strong female characters. I don’t, however, love when they have to be saved by stronger men. I concede that it had to happen, to get them to meet again, and I like that she turns around and saves him later. But there were subtle things about her character – the goggles on her head that made the profile of ears instead
of her actually wearing ears, and the fact that they never actually call her Catwoman (save one comment she makes about “cat got your tongue” that made me giggle) – that made me fall in love with her. She was pretty rockin’. And I’ll even concede to the skin tight suit, but ONLY because its a superhero movie.
Overall, I liked the little things. The subtle flavors that make a movie more than a script – like the palpable hope you can feel when the kids see Batman come back to save them, one last time. (I almost cried when they cheered.) And the end, oh the end – it ties it all up, as an end should. The Batman is dead, Bruce Wayne is dead (how does no one make that connection?!), Blake retires to become Robin (cute, btw, Nolan), and poor old Alfred retires to Italy and his dream comes true – Bruce is happy and safe. (Oh, Alfred!!!) It was reminiscent of David Tennant’s end of Dr Who, which also struck an emotional nerve with me.
All in all, it was okay. Would I pay to see it? Not again, and not if I’d known. Would I watch it again? If I caught it on TV, I suppose. (Which I won’t because I don’t have cable.) Would I convince anyone else not to see it? Never. It made me think, even if I didn’t enjoy it, and I’d rather you make your own decisions about it.
Be warned, however – its almost 3 hours of angst. Three loooooooong
About AngelaI'm a holistic health advocate, an entrepreneur, and, of course, a writer. I blog about holistic wellness, alternative living, geek chic, introspection, spirituality, and the arts. In my downtime, when there is some, I sew and craft candles and natural bath products for extra cash, play with my adorable kitty Miss Daisy, and role-play characters that I could never be in real life.
Posted on July 21, 2012, in Uncategorized and tagged Anne Hathaway, Batman, Catwoman, Gary Oldman, movie reviews, Occupy Movement, opinion, politics, protesters, social state, The Dark Knight Rises. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.